When Brady Hicks accepted a freelance assignment from the Northeast News Gleaner, he never expected it to lead to a hall of fame wrestling career.
But it certainly did.
Hicks, a Bensalem native and Port Richmond resident, was working as a freelancer for the now-defunct newspaper and he was given an assignment of covering wrestling superstar Shawn Michaels getting the Christian service award from Holy Family University.
Hicks interviewed the all-time great, and after the recorder was off, the two started talking, and Hicks asked Michaels for some advice on how to get into the world of professional wrestling.
The advice was really good.
“He was very cool, I was talking to him and he recommended I reach out to (Pro Wrestling Illustrated, a magazine covering the sport),” said Hicks, a graduate of Holy Ghost Prep and La Salle University. “He was really friendly and engaging, and I told him I did some writing for wrestling websites in college, and I’d like to do more with it. He said PWI was right there in Blue Bell and told me to reach out to them.”
That was the first step into becoming a hall of famer.
The next one was after he secured a job with the wrestling magazine, he was asked to cover an East Coast Wrestling Association event by PWI publisher Stu Saks. And it wasn’t just any show, it was an ECWA Super 8 show, where the company brings in eight of the top independent wrestlers for a tournament.
“It’s a blast, it’s better than I thought it’d be” Hicks said. “I never expected it to be the family atmosphere with the wrestlers and how welcoming and engaging everyone was. I read about (the Super 8) in PWI before I started writing about it. They had some great guys. Christopher Daniels and Austin Aries are two of the big ones. They weren’t big names, that was their first mainstream east coast exposure. That’s what the Super 8 is all about, creating the next name and the next star.”
Hicks got involved with the promotion after covering it, and eventually joined the commentary team. He has also has served as a ring announcer and even a manager.
The minute Hicks got to the show, he was a fan.
Now, he’s an ECWA Hall of Famer.
The promotion honored Hicks by putting him into the 2023 hall of fame Saturday night at its show in Marlboro, New Jersey.
“It was huge for me, I was thinking about this, I’ve been doing this since 2007, 16 years or so,” Hicks said. “The company has been around for 56 years. It started as a backyard federation. For me, to be a part of it for a large part of its history is important. I have a front-row seat to see great talent get their start. The list of guys who came through ECWA would blow your mind.”
One of the top stars is the announcer going into the hall of fame.
“ECWA has had a hall of fame since 1982, that was the first year they inducted people,” said ECWA owner Ryan Kavanaugh. “My version is rewarding people after a long stint of service. They can still wrestle, manage or be a referee, as long as you did something that makes you a hall of famer, you can be inducted. He’s been through three different generations, and honestly, his work is better today than it’s ever been.
“I would say it’s true of our entire roster, nobody gets into wrestling for the money at this level. There’s not a ton of it. We’re lucky enough our entire roster is full of guys like Brady who love wrestling, love the fans and love the promotion.”
If you’re an ECWA fan, you probably have heard Hicks. You might not like him because, at times, he can side with the bad guys. That’s what happens when you grow up listening to commentators like Jesse Ventura and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan.
Fans might not always agree with him, but he does keep them entertained, and even when he’s not on their side, Hicks is a fan favorite.
“The first time I signed an autograph, it blew my mind,” Hicks said. “The fans have been so receptive. A huge part of why I’m going into the hall of fame is the fans, they appreciate that goofy commentary. Like a Bobby Heenan. I’m always making jokes and making fun of my partner. It’s pretty cool. Wrestling is fun.”
That doesn’t mean it’s always glamorous.
Hicks does things behind the scenes for the promotion, and always has, like picking up wrestlers from the airport or doing any odd job that needs to be done on days of shows. He also has gotten a few bumps and bruises along the way, one of the most memorable beatings was when he got “assaulted” by former World Wrestling Federation tag team champs.
“I got beat up by Demolition, and that was so much fun,” Hicks said. “It was hard not to smile. Smash picked me up, my gut was hanging out, Ax puts his fist up and says, ‘This is gonna hurt but not as much as it should. When you fall out, hook your arm on the rope.’
“I fell between the ropes and it looked like I did this fantastic fall, but I landed on my feet and fell. They were huge for me. The fan in me was like, ‘Wow!’ I was giddy.”
Hicks stays busy away from wrestling, too.
He’s a journalist by trade, working for a technology trade magazine, writing about technology and computers, as well as hosts their podcasts.
Speaking of podcasts, he also hosts a Tuesday night show on VOC Nation Wrestling Network. The show, which also includes former WCW wrestler the ‘Stro, is live on the site and then is available as a podcast.
Hicks also has a very supportive wife, Kelly, whom he married last September. It helps that she’s a very understanding woman.
“Kelly is great, she’s so supportive of this,” Hicks said. “We’ve been together for 10 years now, and in that time, I think she’s seen my involvement grow a little. I backed off a little, at some point, you realize that you’re going to make something of it, or it’s going to be a fun weekend hobby. At some point, it shifted from the pipedream of going to WWE someday and be the next Michael Cole or Jerry Lawler to this is a lot of fun.
“I get to do it every month or so and she gets a free Saturday night. It’s become more fun because I don’t do it all the time, so it’s allowed me to have a home life a lot of people in wrestling don’t have.”
Now he has the best of everything.
He has a great home life, a great work life and, now, he’s a hall of famer.
“Most common thing people ask is how did I get started, it was like a butterfly effect,” Hicks said. “Shawn Michaels sent me to Stu Saks who sent me to ECWA. It all worked out timing wise. If this didn’t happen, I’d be watching the WWE Network tonight. Best advice? Be open to opportunities to get you closer to where you are. If you try hard, the opportunities will come.”